Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The best laid plans of mice and Flemmings often go awry...

I have a friend, who I feel that I know better than I actually do, because I read her fabulous blog every single day.

A couple of weeks ago, she posted this: http://yestertimeblog.com/2008/09/02/bring-out-the-wide-angle-lens/

(I'll give you time to go read it. Go on! Read! It's crucial for the rest of my post. Make sure you note my comment at the bottom. It's important, I promise.)

Okay, are we all caught up? Here we go...

We started off this morning by navigating the entire family to Columbia Seminary where Matt was delivering his inaugural address... I mean sermon. It was kind of a big deal, and really fun to have everyone there. But, of course, you know these things are different in theory than practice.

The plan was: get to Columbia, print out bulletins, play on the quad, go to chapel, listen intently for the proclamation of the Word of God, snacks in the cafeteria. EASY! Even a 2 year old could handle this, right?


Skipping over the chaos before the worship service began, the boys and I did get a brief chance to hang out and observe the construction. (See photo, above.) They were still, quiet, reverent (you see where this is heading, don't you?). At 10:00, we entered the chapel to find a sizable crowd, friendly faces, and a couple of other children already sitting in the pews with their parents.

I took the boys up to the very front pew and the service began. I led the Call to Worship. They were angelic. We sang a hymn. They took it all in. We prayed a prayer of confession. They bowed their heads. "This is going splendidly!" My inner idiot said. "I'm so glad we brought them! How grown up! How mature!"

Then, Matt got up to preach. This sent things into an instant tailspin. Jackson was fine, but Cooper saw this as his opportunity to take center stage, so I hustled him out of the worship space and into the bookbag holding room. I whispered to him, "We have to be quiet until Daddy is done preaching. Let's listen together."

"Alright!" My bright, reasonable 2 year old answered. He immediately yelped with delight and hollered, "WHO'S DAT MAN!??!!!" while pointing at someone he's never seen before.

I managed to keep him sequestered for the rest of Matt's sermon, which I understand was lovely. It was on the stoning of Stephen in Acts, and addressed the risks of being a prophet and preacher. He had a powerful example of MLK's own stoning in Chicago. All of that considered, I was more than a little surprised when I heard laughter coming from the congregation. This was not a "funny" sermon.

The mom-light went off over my head. "JACKSON!"

Sure enough, my little (still-3-year-old-until-Oct. 7-when-he-finally-turns-4-and-has-an airplane-party-at-the-airport-with-his-friends) boy had managed to find his way up to the pulpit. As it turned out, during this sermon, Matt made reference the stoning of Stephen, you know 'cause that was his text. Guns and violence have been a BIG topic of discussion in our family since J hit the Preschool scene, and we're pretty clear on how we feel about weapons of any sort. Well, my son couldn't help himself and in the middle of Matt's exposition, J jumped up and said:

"Killing people is not okay! It's bad! It's not okay to hurt people!"

My little prophet.

Matt handled the situation with grace, and managed to avoid using J's outburst as a prop in his sermon, which I would not have been able to resist (hence this blog post). As well as Matt had done, most of the comments after the service were about J's moment of truth. And, frankly, we couldn't have been more proud.

Once the benediction was uttered, we gathered our family to scuffle over to the cafeteria for coffee (sweet, delicious coffee...) and bagels. We talked with folks, doted on our boys, and enjoyed some grown up conversation. In fact, we got so wrapped up in grown up conversation that we neglected to heed Cooper's cries for attention until an unfamiliar voice said, "Excuse me, you may want to take care of your little boy."

We turned to look at Cooper, who had... dropped trou. He was pantless and underpantless, with his dainty bits on display for all. He has never looked so pleased with himself. We quickly hoisted his pants up over his bum, and raced him to the potty. This prompted a series of "When my son was that age" stories, but there was no taking away from the fact that we have a very bold family.

My son, the prophet.
My son, the nudist.

Together, they could have the Naked Street Preaching market cornered.

All of these events prompted me to reflect on what it truly means to be a prophet and preacher. My son's actions were not well-timed, expected, or proper. Okay - I'm mainly talking about J here - he did what he knew in his heart to be right. To speak out against the use of weapons and, though he doesn't know the word yet, violence. He took an ill-timed moment (in the middle of his father's sermon) and turned it into the most memorable moment of the morning, because of his boldness and his truth. We commended him on his preaching, and he countered, "I wasn't preaching! Guns just aren't okay." I believe this is how we should strive to proclaim the Word- out of authenticity and inappropriateness.

I took the boys to school after this, and picked them up in time for dinner at Moe's with a friend. When I got to school and found them, playing together in J's piazza, I noticed a big brown spot on J's face.

"Jackson, did you get something on your nose?"

"Yes. I fell down."

Fell? More like plummeted. His nose, upper lip, chin and forehead showed some serious signs of trauma.

Remember the blog post I asked you to read? Remember my comment?

Our pictorial directory photo is scheduled for today. The boys have their school photos on Monday.

Curses on you, pictorial directory deities! Curses!!!

Looks like we'll be rescheduling...


Heather said...

My opinion...don't reschedule...Remember the boys as they are now, full of bruises, bumps, and scrapes. It makes it more of a memory. Boys are boys! If I waited till all the bruised legs and scraped knees were gone we would never get pictures done. It is a sign of a healthy, happy child :)

Leigh said...

I will never complain about my life being hectic again. These posts are great. Thanks for the laugh.

Sara said...

Oh you can't complain. You have the most beautiful pictures of those boys plastered all over your office and new ones you just got!

Cheryl Thompson said...

There are a lot of makeup artists at Saint Mark who can fix that so it looks like nothing happened. Brad Dickey - for one - can work miracles with makeup.

Rachel said...

Sorry, I would have commented earlier, but I was busy rescheduling our second photo shoot attempt due to the bubonic plague. (Or a stomach virus at nine months pregnant, not sure if it's all that different, really.)
It's crazy how these things happen isn't it? Thanks for linking to me!

Mandy said...

Apparently, bad things DO happen in threes. Thanks, SAL!